Co-Founder of Embodme Discusses the Future of Touchless Sensing

In preparation for French startup Embodme’s education session at Infocomm 2022 in Las Vegas, AVIXA talked to co-founder Alexandre Panizzoli, who discussed their current immersive touchpad MIDI controller and a breakthrough touchless technology that they are working on.
Co-Founder of Embodme Discusses the Future of Touchless Sensing

An enthralling audiovisual experience awaits you at a finger's touch (or soon-to-be hover). Artists can easily compose dynamic music elements from shapes and patterns using the MIDI controller, ERAE Touch.

MIDI controllers generate and transmit Musical Instrument Digital Interface data to MIDI-enabled devices to trigger sounds and control parameters during a musical performance.

The French company Embodme, whose name comes from the term embodiment, is a startup demonstrating the potential of MIDI controllers for musicians, integrators, lighting technicians, architects, industrial designers, and more. They have already begun to think about efficiency and safety in a novel way for music creation and beyond.

With its 18-inch silicone surface, the ERAE Touch is a polyphonic MIDI controller that can be used for live performances and studio sessions. The device is provided with advanced templates and quick menu access to optimize workflow efficiency. It is also the first musical controller to embed more than a thousand high-quality Force Sensitive Resistors (FSRs), making it sensitive yet still firm enough to use with drumsticks. Coldplay is currently touring with the device, and Flume has used it during live performances, to name a few. 

And Embodme is working on a future model which offers a breakthrough touchless technology that they will be bringing to showcase at Infocomm 2022 in Las Vegas, opening the door of possibilities for many. On top of the hygienic applications of touchless navigating on a public screen, various markets and professionals can utilize the complex 3D interactions it will enable.

To learn more about “what’s in the box” that consumers of ERAE Touch receive and get some insight into the future of touchless technology, AVIXA recently spoke with Alexandre Panizzoli, co-founder and COO of Embodme, who is based in Paris, France.

So how did this idea for the ERAE Touch first come about?

Alexandre Panizzoli: “Well, out of a robotics lab. I was actually studying music computing with Edgar, the CEO. We really come from music, so that’s why our first product, the ERAE Touch, is a music product. The first goal when we developed this product is that we have this underlying technology that we want to push forward. It’s called FSR or Force Sensitive Resistors. Musicians want something super sensitive, and they want something at the same time that can handle drumsticks, for instance. We are all musicians in the company, so we really wanted to create this crazy interface, like super modular and customizable.”

What is the music scene like in Paris? What artists have used ERAE Touch?

Alexandre Panizzoli: “Coldplay is doing their world tour right now and they’re touring the world with our device. The artist Flume did an opening with our device. One of the biggest French artists Jean-Michel Jarre actually just told us he’s happy to join our advisory board so it’s going to open a lot of doors to us.”

I know that for your information session at Infocomm, you’re going to talk about touchless technology. Tell us a little bit about the safety and health that will come with using touchless technology and why this is the future right now.

Alexandre Panizzoli: “So, in parallel, on top of this touchpad, we also developed a technology that allows touchless interaction above the screen. There are a lot of germ transmissions [in everyday life] and because of COVID, we're more sensitive to it. You will be able to basically navigate above the screen and invite load verification for creators. It's an example of what we call Z navigation. The Photo Sensitive Pixel is really a breakthrough technology. It has been filed for 3 international patents. This is a cutting-edge computer vision technology that we are bringing to the mainstream market. It is solving the issue of Stereoscopic Cameras and LiDar technics for hand tracking. 2D Cameras have limited view angles which make it impractical for touchless navigation, hard to integrate and makes it a clumsy experience. I will present those solutions during the education session. Our sensor is based on an array of Infrared LEDs and designed to be embedded within the screen with no calibration needed for the user or the professional installing the screen.”

Prior to this discussion, you mentioned a little bit about the kinds of AI data set biases that can occur also, and I wanted to see if you would talk a little bit about that as well.

Alexandre Panizzoli: “A good documentary to watch on Netflix is ‘Coded Bias,’ which talks about the bias that data sets can have when you use face recognition, for example. We are doing hand recognition and the device we developed is based on lighting. Skin color and lighting do have a difference, so we have to be conscious as manufacturers and developers to make sure that when we create a device, there won’t be any bias and that everybody will be able to use the device the same way. We’re more at the development stage, but we also developed a little plug-and-play device. I will probably show this during the session, but it's a plugin play trackpad that you could add next to your screen, and that would basically replace your mouse and your trackpad. So, through just a USB connection to a computer or a screen, you can just plug it in and navigate, and we are really developing a solution that would be super easy to integrate. It's really bringing more of a level of interaction to the screen without even touching it. We plan to do it actually in Kickstarter by January next year.”

There are definitely so many possibilities out there. And I know even with the midi controllers, I have seen people use them for so many different projects that they're working on.

Alexandre Panizzoli: “People who create interactive installations [could use it]. For lighting as well. More software or even hardware controlling lights are MIDI compatible. And what we develop, it’s also really nice ‘cause there's a lighting customization tool that could really match the set that the light designer is creating. So, there are many fields and industries where our tech has applications. [And with the touchless model] outside of obvious but urgent hygienic applications such as touchless navigating on a public screen, there are also many markets and professionals that will be interested in the complex 3D interactions it will enable. Manipulating 3D objects in VR without the need of wearable devices, augmenting the modelling capacities beyond the mouse and keyboards for architect or industrial designers, or improving the experience of navigation on smartwatches or phones with limited screen size. We are already discussing with integrators to create our first use case in a retail store or hospitality space. We are also looking for industrial partners to miniaturize the technology within Micro-LED screens. Our dream, our goal would be to make that tech appear kind of everywhere and available to everyone.”

To learn more about the ERAE Touch, visit Embodme’s website.

On June 8, from 10am to 11am, Embodme will be giving a demonstration at Infocomm 2022 in Las Vegas. The educational session, entitled “3D Touch and Touchless Technologies,” will continue the discussion on the future of touchless sensing.

To catch a glimpse of the technology they’ve been working on, click here to learn more regarding the informational session coming up soon.

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